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Insights introduces a cultural shift for Wolseley

The UK’s largest heating and plumbing supplier, Wolseley, needed a way to improve financial performance and results.


Challenged by a downward trending financial performance throughout the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the UK’s largest heating and plumbing supplier, Wolseley, needed a way to improve financial performance and results.

Because branch networks lie at the heart of Wolseley’s retail success, their internal training department, led by Head of Learning and Development, Martin Mason, set to improve the leadership effectiveness of first-line branch managers. It should also be noted that Wolseley has 730 merchant branches across the UK, so sustainability and scalability were key factors in selecting a learning and development partner. 

Martin Mason chose Insights due to our ability to ingrain self-awareness principles within an organisation in a way that has both simplicity and depth.  Along with the value of the learning curriculum itself, Wolseley also chose Insights due to our accreditation model which allows Wolseley employees to be trained to facilitate Insights Discovery sessions internally to support overall scalability.


From this partnership, the award winning ‘Leading Yourself’ programme was born. The programme, co-developed by Wolseley and Insights organisational effectiveness facilitators, was designed to engage newly appointed managers in a self- discovery process that equips them with an awareness of their personal preferences and an understanding of how this impacts their management style.

From here, Leading Yourself supports branch managers to learn new leadership behaviours, with a focus on how they can adapt and connect with their direct reports to achieve sustained performance and how they can build better relationships with clients to increase sales.

Watch our video to hear from Martin Mason on the amazing impact our partnership has had.

Leading Yourself’s learning objectives

Leading Yourself began as a three-day pilot programme with ten branch managers and has now spread across the United Kingdom. The programme includes:



Understanding the link between leadership qualities and Wolseley’s RESPECT values



Recognising and understanding your individual leadership style



Committing to your leadership responsibilities and owning your ongoing development


Measurement and evaluation* took place throughout the programme and incorporated a variety of methods, including:

  • GOLD Software: a cloud-based learning transfer and evaluation tool
  • Telephone conversations and email correspondence with delegates

*Measurement and evaluation were conducted by a third party, Odissy.

As a result of the Leading Yourself programme, Wolseley recognised the following returns on investment*:

  • Service

    Improved customer service and customer retention leading to a £60,000 increase in branch revenue over a 12-month period

  • Profits

    Increased NPS score by 2%, with revenue increasing by £1,000 per month (£12,000 over a 12-month period)

  • Performance

    Status change of ‘at risk’ branch to a ‘top performing’ branch

  • Savings

    Decrease in branch expenditures, equating to £30,000 in branch savings over a 12-month period

  • Processes

    Increased branch efficiencies, leading to an increase in profit margin by 2%, equating to £50,000 over a 12-month period

  • Bottom-line

    Increased branch annual revenue by £20,000 (one- time figure)

Overall, Leading Yourself’s first pilot programme (with a group of ten branch managers) saw a £172,000 return on an initial investment of £29,440 – 484% ROI.

This ROI analysis is based on a conservative attribution of the programme’s impact on 50% of the financial results as there are naturally other business factors that contribute to results.

Since the pilot programme, Leading Yourself has seen approximately 200 branch managers experience the programme across the organisation.


return on investment through the pilot programme


On a very human level, Leading Yourself has evolved Wolseley’s branch leadership from self-described “football fans who don’t talk about feelings” to a staff of engaged managers who understand the importance of how they show up for their teams and customers, and how this impacts results.

On an organisational level, Leading Yourself is a star against a backdrop of organisational cost cutting in other functional areas. To date, Wolseley has gone from having three internal trainers who can deliver Insights Discovery to now a staff of 35. Not only has the organisation’s learning and development budget been increased significantly, but the board has decided that no new branch will go live before all key staff have attended the training programme.

In response to the board’s high-level buy-in and engagement, Insights has delivered 730 Insights Discovery profiles throughout the organisation in support of a variety of learning initiatives.

Additionally, Leading Yourself as a programme and Martin Mason’s team as an L&D function are now being seen as ‘changemakers’ and pillars of functional accountability to organisational results. Because the programme was able to shift board level perceptions that training is not just a cost to be minimised, but an enabler of results, Martin now has influence at board level and is brought into strategic planning conversations. Because Martin is brought into the conversation early and often, he is better able to ensure he and his team can support the people element of strategic plans with the right learning and development and organisational development, as appropriate.

As a result of this partnership, Insights won a Silver Award at the 2017 Training Journal awards in London.

Working with Insights on this project has been great. It is so refreshing to work with an organisation that thinks commercially and demonstrates ROI.

Martin Mason

Head of Learning and Development

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